You know how adorable 2-year-olds say "hold you!" when they want you to hold them? This one, slightly less than 2, doesn't follow the rules. She says, "HUG YOU," instead. Hug you, you guys. She also: whispers "love you too" into your cheek sometimes, sings along to every song, colors, still yells BABY whenever she sees another child (so fifty times a day), points out every bow, says, "Mine," in a way that sounds like she means it, and watches TV clutching the piano (the TV is on the piano...). She is a sprite of the absolute kind.
With all this talk here and there and everywhere about minimalism these days, I have come to realize something. I am an utter minimalist at heart. When I see articles or house tours about minimalism, they generally include tips; I used to get excited and be like, "Oh I'd love to learn about how to become a minimalist," and I'd read them. And then it would be suggestions of things that I already do, and have always done, and I'd be disappointed. "Give ten items to charity every month," or "Basically just don't buy things," or "Go through your kitchen and get rid of duplicates." (Duplicates?! Ha!) So I already am what I want to be? No, not really.
No one in those articles ever mentions what a pain in the neck it can be to long for NO STUFF in a family that requires stuff to exist. The kids actually need more than one pair of shoes (two maybe, except in winter, then boots too). Some people actually feel really special when you buy them things. If you have extra cans of tomato sauce in your pantry you don't have to rush to the store at 4:45 to buy ingredients to make dinner, ever again.
Also, I'm sorry to say, minimalism doesn't just revolve around the "stuff" aspect of life. It is such a mindset that I generally do the least amount of work I can to get the thing I want out of it. Gretchen Rubin and her crew kindly call that kind of mindset being a "satisfiser," and label it as a good goal to aim for. And I guess it is good, when picking out socks or making decisions to build a house (all of our decisions turned out excellent by the way)--but what about when it comes to sweeping the floor? Or cleaning bathrooms? Still I guess it's good enough. (See, I'm doing it again. Good enough is good enough!) But it's certainly not good enough to make me a seamstress to anyone besides myself, or in developing other detail-oriented talents. I know some people who would call it plain old LAZY.
This is why I'm thinking perfectionists-turned minimalists are the ones who get all the press. Being a true minimal person is just not as interesting as sparse and beautifully lined up cupboards (mine are just sparse), clean open white floors and walls and furniture (I have children, including one racoon),
The first night was last Thursday, one week ago. Since then we have hung curtains and a new light fixture and put together 7 chairs and 3 beds. I've begun putting up pictures and art and clocks and I color-coded the books.
I took three kids on a plane by myself, voluntarily.
It was awesome!!
Thy became geniuses at Cal Tech with Harvey.
We wen to the beach at Santa Monica, but only after driving through a ritzy residential area for an hour thanks to my google maps navigation instructions.
PS I legit thought that the person in the foreground of the above picture was ME when I was glancing through my photos on my phone. HA.
It would have obviously been way more fun with Nate, but Brittany sure made it fun for us. I thought it would be better to rent a place to get out of the Needhams' hair, but I actually think it would have been more convenient to stay at their nice big apartment. Maybe next time, Cali.
Magnolia Tree has been, well, an insane person. Totally off her rocker. She has learned a million new words, and is so funny but is also an actual Tasmanian Devil. Some of her favorite words are gloves, jack(et), on, down, baba (bread), drink, snack, cracker, apple, Na-aaa-aaa (haha, it's Norah), Dada, NOOOO, home (which means car), milk, book, mama (grandma), tv, humpty dumpty (which is more like Uh-ee, Uh-ee, but when she's pointing at humpty dumpty when she says it it's pretty clear what she means). She is also way into taking her clothes off, and we have finally gotten her to keep them on in bed by putting her zip up jammies on backwards. (We tried a million things that didn't work, including tape, so I didn't think that would work. But it did.)
Calvin has been doing awesome at school and reading a ton, as always. He's reading Andrew Lost books, Secrets of Droon, Magic Treehouse and the last of the A to Z mysteries.
Charlotte made a ton of progress the first week of December and then NOTHING HAPPENED for a week and I nearly died. They're working again this week so I may pull through.
Norah has been loving school and her friends there, especially Jaquelyn. She thinks her name is Norah Jocelyn Clark Peterson. She picked out a new hat with a fox on it, and now she will wear a hat. She still says "flumb" instead of thumb and "zizzors" instead of scissors, and I hope she never learns the real way.
1. Calvin continued to play with his homemade bow and arrow from Thanksgiving at the Clarks'. We all took a go at it last Sunday at dinner and we were all pretty good. Robin Hoods all around.
2. Charlotte made a ton of progress: paint, floors, cabinets and then absolutely nothing happened for almost a week. Then today they installed the light fixtures.
3. Our landlord sold our house and is closing January 5th, so #2 has gotten stressful.
4. We got our Christmas tree from the same tree place outside Fisher Home Furnishings that we always go to, and despite all the warnings from the internet, it was only $40 (they were saying they're like $100 this year).
5. I have shopped almost all that I'm going to Christmas shop; just a couple of things left for Nate.
6. The weather snapped from warmish sweatshirt weather (see above photo) to highs in the 20s and everyone wearing coats, socks (which is a big deal), boots, hats, and mittens to leave the house.
7. The kids had checkups and flu shots, and Calvin's eyes were tested in front of me and he couldn't see the bottom two lines. Guys. She said it's not actually a problem yet, but if it gets worse he'll need glasses. Which stinks. Not because of how he'll look--adorable, of course--but because it's another thing to break and lose and honestly, how do kids play sports with glasses on? I will have to act like I don't think it's a drag, but I really do.
My favorite kind of day is the kind where I am outside to see both the sunrise and the sunset. Friday was one of those days.
The cold November sunrises have been so pretty this year, which I have noticed even though I usually only see them while running on Saturdays because they happen so late in the morning. I see plenty of sunrises in the summer when I'm up and running with ample time to be home before Nate leaves for work, but those sunrises are usually pretty pale and white. In the fall, early before-work runs are less likely to happen and are pitch black (aka not happening at all), so when I run later in the morning I see the glorious sunrise, pink/orange/purple/gold fading to blue. I got three days in a row of that last week thanks to Thanksgiving.
Being out at sunset happens a lot more in the fall, especially this year that has been so warm so far. The kids get to frolic in the sunset and everything, lucky duckies. On Friday we went on a rather long hike which lasted past sunset. We got to the car just as it was getting dark and cold. There is an avalanche scene from last winter that we've been trying to hike to all year, but it is 2 miles each way and we don't usually push the kids to hike very far except on special occasions. Last time we tried that hike with the Petersos, we got thunderstormed out, and this time we were this close but realized we'd never make it before the mountain became dark. Trudy and the kids and I rushed back to the car just in time but Nate and Justin finished the hike (being slightly faster hikers than a 4-year-old) and still made it down before dark. I was sorry to miss the avalanche again, but glad to hike as the sun went down, finishing up an ideal day.
What can I say? They're all beautiful and smart and healthy and we live in a beautiful and safe and comfortable area and we are building a comfortable and nice house and we eat lots of delicious and plentiful food and wear whatever we want, and I really can't think of a reason why I'm so lucky. Happy Thanksgiving back.
You could almost say I am thankful for that horrible man who pushed Nate out of his old job using psychological warfare and straight up terribleness, because if it weren't for that, he may never have gotten to work for Gossner's, home of the best Cache Valley cheese and a wonderful boss. Nate didn't know why they all seemed so glad to have him there, but I know why and it's pretty obvious: awesomeness. He is great at his job and his job is at a great place.
I actually complain about running on the treadmill all the time; how ungrateful can I be! What if I just couldn't run during naptime or during a blizzard or when it's dark? I would run 90% less in the cold dark months, and 100% less for the last two weeks. But as it is, I ran every day, listened to a ton of podcasts, paid nothing for a gym, and never had to leave my children alone or go at an inconvenient time. Also, have I mentioned, it was a hand-me-down and FREE? THANK YOU TREADY MC TREADERTONS!
I never made it to Ann Arbor when Jesse and Catherine lived there, and that always made me sad. I never made it to Moldova (ha ha) (but I guess I really could have) either, and when they said their next destination was New Haven, I put a google watch on airfares out there. I think it was more than just being there with my mom and brother, but New England is a really homey place for me. When Nate and I went with his family seven...no eight...years ago, we both felt like we could just plop down right there in rural Maine and stay forever. I felt the same way about New Haven. I was only there for basically two days, but it was awesome. It was fun to be an auntie for a few days, and not have to answer to "Mom!" (although I answered, "Yeah?" 97% of the time).
There is that thing that happens when the baby wakes up from her nap and alerts you in a way that isn't annoying, and she doesn't sit too long waiting for you so she's still sleepy and koala-bear-baby-ish when you pick her up: warm and round and heavy. The spell is broken when you put her down on the changing table, but that's just as well because it starts to vaporize as she sees the hall light and opens her mouth to jabber and wiggles and kicks her legs. But for a few seconds, the mystical baby snuggles are a wee bit magical, and I'm grateful for them, especially considering that the baby in question is undoubtedly a tasmanian devil in disguise the rest of the day.